Oedipus (Essay Sample)


Writing a play requires a lot of knowledge to ensure that it remains relevant over the years as well as entertaining. This technique has been displayed in the play of Oedipus because it, despite having been written many years ago, is still relevant in the current world. The author of the play used different aspects such as the creation of a theme to ensure that he brought out the story in a manner that the society would find it interesting and a tool of teaching lessons.

The main theme represented in the play is the issue of a myth. The whole play circulates around this issue because Oedipus, the main character, believes that he has a prophecy that he should fulfill in order to cast out the spell in Thebes. The prophecy is that he should kill his father and in turn, marry his mother. Throughout the occurrence of events in the novel, this prophecy is finally fulfilled, but Jocasta ends up committing suicide. As well, Oedipus uses pins from his mother’s attire to make himself blind due to the agony that he was going through. In this case, the theme of myth is shown in the fact that the people believed that the plague could only be cast away once the prophecy had been fulfilled.

The theme of the myth begins when Oedipus’s father receives a prediction from the Apollo’s oracle that his son would kill him. Therefore, unable to bear the pain because he knew that according to the myths of the tribe, the prophecy was bound to be fulfilled, he gave out his son to a servant so that he can be killed. The author uses the character of the servant to show that regardless the deep myths of societies, some people can still have a human heart that prevents them from doing what is evil. Therefore, at this point, the reader is left thinking that the course line of the myth has changed. However, Oedipus is adopted by a childless queen and king who takes care of him until he is an adult. One day, he meets a stranger and kills him as a result of n argument. Later, Oedipus realizes that he had killed his father and married his father.

The context of cultural beliefs in terms of myths can be complex as outlined in this play. In almost all the cultures across the world, the act of Oedipus is considered as incest of the highest level and is punishable by death. However, in this case, the people had a myth to believe in, and therefore, Oedipus and his mother choose what they deserve because they cannot live with the inner shame of the cat that they have done. Therefore, the author narrates such an ending to proof the fact that no matter how much a culture might decide to live by its myths, some of them teaches a self-lesson that whatever that is being done is wrong. Otherwise, Oedipus and his mother could not have been troubled by what had happened.

In addition, the author uses the theme of death to propel the story. According to the prophecy, death is the only thing that could bring about a change, and the prophecy had to be fulfilled. Therefore, the author had to include the theme of death to help in narrating the play up to the end. This theme is shown in the case whereby Oedipus kills a stranger and later realizes that he had killed his father. The twisting of this theme makes it possible for the writer to show how the prophecy was fulfilled. In a normal context, it would be difficult for a son to kill their father. However, Laius was willing to kill his son and, therefore, this could also be a motive for Oedipus to kill his father.

Oedipus knew about the prophecy and was not ready to kill the king who had taken good care of him throughout his life. Therefore, it can be concluded that had he known who his real father was and the fact that Laius had given him out to be killed, then he could possibly have murdered him. However, it would still be difficult to marry Jocasta knowing that she is his real mother. As a result, this could not fulfill the prophecy as intended. Probably, Oedipus would have banished his real parents from the tribe out of the anger of the fact that they wanted him to be killed. Therefore, the theme of death plays a substantial part in the narration of the play.

Concisely, the themes of the myth and death circulate along a specific idea which is the prophecy that had to be fulfilled. Play writers have the obligation of coming up with a central idea that would, in turn, determine the various themes that will be used to propel the narration up to the end. Without the prophecy in the Oedipus play, then it would have been difficult for the author to come up with a play because the prophecy was the central cultural idea that the play circulated around.

So, the themes do not bring out the story on their own, but the author combines them with other styles of writing such as sarcasm and flashbacks. An example of a flashback is used in the case whereby Oedipus realized that he was responsible for his father’s death and was now married to his mother. In an attempt to gather the chronology of event, he thinks about the stranger that he had killed and compared it with the fact that Jocasta blames a group of people to be responsible for his father’s death. Such aspects of writing help a lot in bringing out the argument that a particular theme is trying to prove. The author of the play was able to put across a story that teaches people that not all cultural beliefs ought to be followed because some of them could be devastating to the society. Oedipus fulfills the prophecy, but his life ends up in misery.

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